Breakout #14

Breakout Session #14

Reducing Conflict between Vulnerable Road Users and Automated Vehicles

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Room: Continental 3


  • Ryan Greene-Roesel, Senior Planner, San Francisco County Transportation Authority
  • Justin Owens, Senior Research Associate, Center for Vulnerable Road Users, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute


Human drivers frequently come into close proximity with vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists at intersections and midblock crossings, and must decide how and when to proceed. The decision whether to stop, yield, or perform some other action to avoid conflict is influenced by the ability of the driver and vulnerable road user(s) to detect and anticipate each other’s actions, as well as by social norms, roadway design, law enforcement, pedestrian volumes, and other factors.

Automated vehicles face a variety of challenges when encountering vulnerable road users, such as localization and prediction of intent and direction of movement. However, automated vehicle systems also present opportunities for greater predictability and safety in vehicle/vulnerable road user interactions. This session will explore how automated vehicles can more effectively communicate with those outside the vehicle and vice versa, the challenges posed by vulnerable road user conflicts across a variety of driving scenarios, how connectivity and advanced features can predict future conflicts, and how yielding norms can be established in an automated vehicle future.


  1. Speakers (50 minutes)
    • Ryan Greene-Roesel, Senior Transportation Planner, San Francisco County Transportation Authority: Introduction
    • Azra Habibovic, Senior Researcher, Viktoria Swedish Information and Communication Technology Institute: Vulnerable road users in the age of automated vehicles: How to ensure safe interactions?
    • Justin Owens, Senior Research Associate, Center for Vulnerable Road User Safety, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute: What is the current state of pedestrian/vehicle interaction?
    • Larry Head, Professor, Systems & Industrial Engineering, University of Arizona: Connected Pedestrians at Signalized Intersections in a CAV Environment
    • Andrés Aparicio, Product Manager, Applus IDIADA: Prospect - PROactive Safety for PEdestrians and CyclisTs - Project Overview
  2. Breakout Sessions OR group discussion (30 minutes):
    • What existing or potential new mechanisms could be used to foster communication between AVs and those outside the vehicle?
    • What policy and ethical issues will need to be addressed when developing/programming AVs regarding when to yield to vulnerable road users?
    • Should AV and vulnerable user yielding protocols differ in varying land use contexts (e.g. dense urban, suburban, rural)?
    • (Potential) How will the development of automated vehicles and on demand services affect mobility of pedestrians and bicyclists?
  3. Sub-breakouts report out to group, if applicable (10 minutes)

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